Looking Back at 2015 & Five Travel Tips for 2016

2014-05-26 10.09.49

2015 has been a really crazy year for the Travel Nerds, both for our private and professional lives.

We went on two trips, one to the North Shore and the other to California, and the latter resulted in a proposal.

Mrs. Nerd started her last year of undergraduate and worked three internships, one that ended in a job offer. She'll be starting full time in January (which means more funds for travel, woo hoo)!

We took the plunge to start this travel blog and have been making future travel plans ever since.

We also got married in November and adopted two kittens.

Life has been really great, and looking ahead, it can only get better from here. We have a lot of dreams and aspirations for Two Nerds Travel in 2016 — many new blog posts, a brand new look for our website, two new week-long trips (at least one of which will be overseas), and maybe even some giveaways. We're very excited to take this fledgling travel blog and get it off the ground, and we're excited to share this journey with you, our readers.

Travel Tips For The New Year

As we reflect upon 2015 with nostalgia and serenity, we'd like to offer five travel tips that we hope to live by during 2016.

1. Don't be afraid to try new things. It's easier said than done, but we're determined to stop limiting ourselves to the things that are kept neatly within our comfort zone. Jumping off a cliff into the water? We'll do it. Eating that questionable looking meal made with pig intestines? It'll make an interesting story! Getting involved in a festival, even if we're outsiders that don't know the language? When would we ever get a chance like that again? We don't want to be the travelers that experience a culture through a window, and we hope you'll challenge yourself to step around the glass and open up to the possibilities, too.

2. Throw away the itinerary. We come from families that like to have everything planned, right down to the small details and on-the-dot time frames. So when we went to Europe in 2014, we wrote up a huge itinerary and stuck to it, which didn't give us room to divert from the plan and be spontaneous. We ended up missing a lot of cool opportunities. For 2016, with our trip to Italy, we're going to burn our itinerary and cut down on the plans. Instead of scheduling each day by the hour, we'll give ourselves the freedom to walk around the city, try new foods, wander into small shops and museums, and be locals instead of tourists. We have a feeling the benefits will be endless (and the stress, minimum)!

3. Create your own travel opportunities. People seem to spend a lot of time waiting for opportunities to find them. "I want to travel," we hear people say, "if the opportunity arises." But we've found that the opportunities won't come unless we make them. In 2016, we're resolving to create our own opportunities instead of endlessly waiting for the time (and money) to be right. Every trip we've taken in the past has been because we decided to go—not because a trip just fell into our laps—and we hope our next several trips will reflect this determination to take control and travel when we want to travel.

4. Travel light to travel freely. Since we're new to long-term travel, we haven't always packed light. We try to limit our luggage to one suitcase and one backpack each, but the stress we feel over having to "babysit" our belongings sours the full experience. Next year, we're resolving to cut back and travel light. We own sturdy backpacks that we often use when hiking—we're going to pull them out of the closet, dust them off, and bring only what fits in the backpack. No more, no less. Having to pack light will force us to look at what items we want to bring with a serious eye...and will force us to reconsider items that we think are necessary. We look forward to purifying our travel habits in 2016.

5. Leave behind all expectations. Travel has a habit of challenging everything we think we know. It takes our generalizations, our assumptions, and our beliefs, and it questions them. As a tourist, it's very easy to remain within a comfortable bubble—but as a world traveler, every new place (and culture) you visit invites you to lower your guard. They invite you to see the world through a different perspective and talk to people who've had different life experiences. Our favorite travel tip from 2015 is "Don't be afraid to open your mind and put aside what you know when traveling. Let the world surprise you." We think this is great advice every traveler should follow. The world truly is a surprising place, but only if you let it be.